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and useful member. I cannot but think they will be a great blessing to the people of God of every denomina. tion; and especially to all who desire to walk even as Christ also walked, and who are conscious of an evil na. ture, opposing that will of God which is their sanctification. In this point of view especially these memoirs will be considered, I think, as very precious to all who fight this good fight of faith. The reader will find in them no paint; nothing to set the writer off ; no extravagance; but plain life, raised and sanctified by constant attention to the duties and sacrifices of the Gospel ; and issuing in a constant pleading of the great and precious promises, by which we are made partakers of the Divine nature : with unremitting efforts to walk by that rule, IV hether ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Luther observed that there never was a work of God in the earth that lasted longer, in any community, than the cominon life of man ; that is, upon an average, about thirty years. Generally about that period the vineyard which the Lord planted with his own right hand has been let out to husbandmen, who, yielding to their natural pro. pensities, and accommodating the work of the Lord to the course of this world, have not been careful to render to him the required fruit. Hence the visible state of decay, or of death, in those communities which once manifested the Divine hand of him who formed them. But this work has lasted nearly thrice that time! There are none alive who witnessed its beginning, and but very few who knew its early days. If any such meet with this work, they will call to mind the very glorious time when it was alto. gether the work of God; when it was unsupported by any worldly power or wisdom, and had all that is earthly, sensual, and devilish, combined against it. They will see also a consistency in the design, and in the mode of exe. cution, which is truly edifying, and not of this world.
The instruments employed in this work, and especially y that one so eminently called thereto, were not careful for
such prosperity as worldly men desire. They knew, like their blessed Master, that all whom their Father gave them would come unto them, and they did not desire to bring the world into his fold. The world is called, and redeemed ; but to add to the family of God all who obeyed that call, was their only ambition, and the object of their incessant labours.
The great superintendent of this work, under God, looked not for what the world calls great talents in his helpers. In this respect also he gladly used those whom the Father gave him ; who were witnesses of the truths which they were called to teach : men who knew God (in the only way in which he can be truly and powerfully known) as being merciful to their unrighteousness, and re. membering their sins no more. He was careful also to see that the true fruit accompanied their ministry, the justi. fication of the ungodly, and the sanctification of the unholy. He used to say, " The best physician is not he who writes the best recipes, but he who makes the most cures.” When men of learning united with him in this Divine work, he greatly rejoiced, and gladly received them. The late Mr. Fletcher was an eminent instance of that kind. His learning was deep, extensive, clear, and various; but, like his venerable friend, whom he always called father, he counted even all these estimable advantages as dung and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. So abased was this great man in his own eyes, and so entirely did he take the Divine mould of the Gospel, that there was not one of those helpers in the work whom he did not rejoice to call his brother in Christ, and whom he did not in honour prefer to himself, even in his own parish. · The private members also were men and women of God; and among these Miss Bosanquet always held, in general estimation, the chief place. Her superiority in natural and providential gifts,--her well known entire devotedness,-her constancy and perseverance in the Divine life,-her doing and suffering the whole will of her Master, all fitted her, as by a general consent to be the consort of that great man, whose praise is in all the Churches; whose admirable writings will live while piety and learning are honoured in the earth; and which have forced even those who did not know his piety, or affected to lament that such talents should be so connected, to ac. knowledge his great superiority,
That the highest principles of the Christian religion should be brought into common life, is the greatest dis. play of the power of Divine truth that is possible, and the most glorious victory over the world. It is thus that righteousness shall cover the earth, and bring glory to Him that sitteth upon the throne. How poor, how questionable, are all the refinements of the closet, the study, or the cloister, when compared with the love of God and our neighbour, brought into act, and exhibited on right prin. ciples, amid the common concerns and labours of life, and attended with its usual trials, afflictions, and mortifi. cations! To persevere thus is indeed the perseverance of the saints, and realizes that old saying, too often quo. ted by pride and apathy: “ It is a sight worthy of God, when he looks down from heaven, to see a virtuous mind unswervingly struggle with adversity.” Such a sight, I trust, the pious reader will behold in the life of Mrs. Fletcher. Her one support in all her trials was, in sub. stance, that of Job: He knoweth the way that I take, and when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
What indeed can be so interesting to a mind well informed and disposed, as to behold the daily walk of one, who, from a very early age, had devoted her whole life to God? Not living in seclusion, but walking in what Jeremiah calls the highway, the way of holiness, in which the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err? To see our Lord's sermon on the mount brought into daily and hourly practice, according to the evident design of its Divine Author ? To see the house thus built upon the rock, the truth and love of God; and then to behold the rains de. scend, and the floods come, and the winds blow and beat upon it! Surely they who contemplate the scene, and be. hold its stability, will exultingly exclaim: It falls not ; for it is founded upon a rock !
That such a person should be judged by men in the flesh, while living to God in the spirit, will not be surpris. ing to any who learn what religion is, by the word and Spirit of God, and who know the real character of man. Mrs. Fletcher was thus judged. The common imputa. tions she outlived, or lived down. One perhaps may re. main. It may still perhaps be said, she was an enthu. siast. To many who use this word no answer need be returned. Any thing above the dead form of godliness is with them enthusiasm. A love to Him who first loved
us, and who gave himself for us, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God, which would at all equal in its attachment the love that is of earth and sense, is with them all madness, folly, or hypocrisy; wisdom is justified. only by her children.
But more sober minds may object that she too much minded impressions, dreams, and those inward feelings which religious persons are supposed to be particularly exposed to. That such things should be condemned, toto genere, is hardly consistent with any true religion, seeing the oracles of God so frequently mention them; and not as attached to the prophetic or ministerial character, but as given to those who walk with God in the humblest path of life. The wisest and best of men have not only spoken of such things with respect, but have made them a part of the religion which they have held forth to ages and generations, to communities and kingdoms. Con. cerning religious feelings and impressions, the liturgy of the Church of England, and her established institutes, bear the fullest and most honourable testimony ; setting the highest value on that mode of Divine teaching, and of bestowing encouragement and consolation. We know the worship of our Church is so constituted, as, if possi. ble, to impress the whole nation; but there are parts of it that can only be considered as describing and edifying the children of God. How striking are those passages in the communion service, where those who spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood, are said, agreeably to the Holy Scriptures, to dwell in Christ, and Christ in them; to be one with Christ, and Christ with them! And in the seventeenth article, where there is the strongest description of those adopted children of God (so strong indeed in some of the terms, that not a few have mistaken this Scriptural account of them as de. scriptive of Mr. Calvin's system) who, by the counsel of God, are delivered from the curse and damnation due to sin, and brought through Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. “Wherefore they which be endu. ed with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season : they through grace obey the calling : they be justified freely : they be made sons of God by adoption; they be
made like unto the image of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.” And “as this godly consideration of their election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort, to such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things; so it doth greatly establish and con. firm their faith of eternal salvation, and fervently kindle their love to God.
Now with all this life, union, and holy fellowship, are there no corresponding feelings and enjoyments ? No tasting the powers of the world to come? No lively impressions of their heavenly inheritance ? No consciousness of his love to them, or their love to him, in whom they dwell ? No peace. or joy in believing? If this were indeed so, then I am afraid, the life, the union, of which those feelings and impressions have been considered as the gracious marks, have no real existence; and the system which boasts of a peace of which the possessor has no con. sciousness, a joy which raiseth not “the mind to high and heavenly things,” and a hope which is not full of immortality, may triumphantly take its place in the con. gregation of the dead!
But it will be asked, Did she not lay an undue stress upon these things ? I believe not. I have not perceived it. On the contrary, I have seen, even when she believ. ed herself led by the Spirit of God to do that good which was the settled purpose of her whole life, she manifested the greatest care to walk according to St. John's direc. tion, Beloved, believe not every spirit ; but try the spirits whether they be of God. In obedience to this, she consi. dered and pondered all her ways, and brought every pur. pose and act to the only sure touchstone, the unerring word of God. The same charge was often brought against Mr. Wesley, and for precisely the same reasons, Answering the most respectable of those who thus laid to his charge things that he knew not, viz., Dr. Gibson, the venerable bishop of London, he replies, “ In the whole compass of language, there is not a proposition which belongs less to me than this. I have declared again and